Chapter One

All things considered, Rebecca thought she had handled it all fairly well. Oh, not the "Mansion Incident" (as it had come to be known) – that little venture had been effed since the get go. She'd made it out alive and that was all that mattered when it came to that.

No, she'd done a great job in coping. In moving forward, coming to grips. All that jazz.

It was truly impressive, if she said so herself. Two days of constant death, terror, and betrayal, and she was exactly the same person as before. No PTSD episodes, no sudden flashbacks, no encroaching nightmares. She'd made it through Hell, but more than that, she had emerged unscathed. Okay, so granted, she didn't get a lot of sleep. So what? She'd always averaged a low amount of hours anyway. Plus, she hated resting. Constant movement – that was what fueled her on. Resting, in any form, was time better spent for doing a constructive something. And yes, she could be forced into admitting that she had developed a recent fear of trains. The sudden shriek of a whistle was enough to loosen the bladder. Merely setting eyes on a stationary diesel engine had a tendency to make her lightheaded. But you couldn't really link that with what had come before. You really couldn't. The timing of this new phobia's emergence was suspicious, Rebecca was comfortable to acknowledge that much, but left it there.

July 1998. Yeah, a pretty crappy month in a year that had been overall "great" up until then. Graduating at 18 from UCLA should've been reason enough to celebrate, but one of her resumes that she had sent off toward the end of the school year came fluttering back. A week after graduation and she was back in Colorado, interviewing for a position as team medic for a metropolitan police force's special response team. Several rigorous interviews later, she was notified that the job was hers if she wanted it.

She remembered the moment clearly. A series of calls had been made. First to her parents, whose cool reception of the news had chocked off Rebecca's squeals of joy almost instantly. They'd been nice about it, but no congratulations had been extended. Her father had questioned the career choice while not being overly critical. As far as he was concerned, Dr. Chambers would be a far greater source of family pride than Officer Chambers. The twins were a little more supportive of their little sister. Stanford had joked about the morality of fixing traffic tickets, while Princeton repeated the sentence, "Wow, way to go, Becca," over and over.

Yeah, family support would've been nice, but the way Rebecca viewed it, she was 18, free and single. She'd moved to Raccoon City, renting a small apartment within walking distance of the police station.

And then the train. The mansion.

Well, it was over. She had risen out of its ashes as one of her squad's few survivors – the others being Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Barry Burton. Of course, it was a little disappointing how they'd all gone their separate ways. Upon returning to the RPD, she'd participated in the filing of the official report, detailing the Mansion Incident in its entirety and the part Umbrella Pharmaceuticals had to play, but after that…

They'd ignored her. The days immediately following were some of the loneliest of her life. Hallway "Good mornings" were met with silence or the occasional mumbled "Hi". Which was fine. She was new. But after all that they'd been through together … what she and Chris had been through…

His silence hurt the most. He seldom looked at her, and when he did, it was with a furrowing of the eyebrows, the way a pedestrian might look at a trench-coated stranger who has "watches" for sale.

S.T.A.R.S. disbanded soon after that. The survivors scattered. Rebecca remained out on paid leave until the department could readjust her role to better fit elsewhere. In the meantime, her mother called and suggested she stay with her for a while. It made sense. Though nobody had ever come right out and said it, she had a good idea that the Chambers missed their little girl. Spending some time with them would be good.

So off she went, back to Dovetail, back to the place she still thought of as home. After a round of welcome, she gladly returned to her old room, and was only mildly dismayed to see that her mother had wasted no time in converting it into a "yarn room". From there, the days passed one after the other, a steady stream of the same. Sometimes Rebecca tried calling up her old teammates. She tried Chris' number first, but heard nothing but ringing each time. Toward the end, before she gave up completely, she made a game of it: how many times could she stand to hear the phone ring before hanging up? Her personal best was 36. When she called Barry's number, a female computer voice informed her it had been disconnected. Jill she had better luck with. She answered on the third ring and the two talked for a bit. Not about the "Incident", no, just shooting the breeze. Rebecca mentioned the possibility of a movie. After a brief pause, Jill declined. Another time, maybe? Maybe, Jill replied doubtfully.

Maybe they were trying to protect her. From what, she had no idea. Hadn't she faced down zombies, leaches, and Tyrants galore? What more was there to fear? Really, she had more undead combat experience than any of them! But what use was it? She was 18, and looked even younger than that.

The Mansion Incident.

Her parents didn't believe her. She told them all about it, sparing not a detail, and to their credit, they had listened politely. They believed her the same way people believed those people who confessed to having been abducted by aliens. "Sure, Cletus, I believe that you saw something." Part of it was her fault. When you used words like "zombies" and "monsters", a certain degree of skepticism was to be expected. But still…

Umbrella. The T-virus.

Nobody believed her.

It was September 22nd.